Resolving disputes for parents

Many parents worry about the impact of separation and divorce on their children and want to minimise any stress caused to them as new living arrangements are discussed. Unfortunately, this can be difficult if communication with your ex-partner has broken down. If one parent has moved out of the family home, they can feel excluded and fear that their relationship with their children has been permanently damaged. It may seem that your only option is to seek child arrangements order (contact and/or residence orders) in court.

Research shows that children are most affected by separation and divorce when they experience conflict around them, and become aware that their parents are unable to agree about what is going to happen to them. Court battles are very costly and may increase the bad feeling between parents.

Mediation offers a private place for parents to talk through the arrangements for their children, with the support of a mediator. Mediators do not tell you what to do, but help you make decisions for yourself.

Mediators will help you agree a parenting plan for you child(ren). This can cover areas such as:

  • Where the children will live
  • How much time they will spend with each parent
  • What arrangements you will make for holidays and special events such as birthdays, Christmas and other festivals
  • How you keep the arrangements flexible and review them as your children get older
  • How you will make joints decisions about schools and their general welfare

Read more about reaching and resolving disputes for separating couples, those involving children and how to help as a family member or friend.

National Family Mediation (NFM) is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family

If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.

All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.

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